Logo by Parag Bhatnagar
Cartoon by Han Chong
“The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/ being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen.” — Michel Foucault
For a year now, our name—‘Panopt’ has been the source of much discussion and dare we say, criticism. What were the editors thinking when they first chose such a name? Didn’t they know that it has such negative connotations? Do we have to worry about being watched even while we exist in a nation of surveillance?
We will be honest. When choosing ‘Panopt’, its association to the Panopticon was not far from our minds. But we are not the Panopticon, and we will never be. On the contrary, Panopt seeks to bridge the gap between the seeing and being seen. We believe in transparency and accountability, and we champion these through honest and insightful reporting.
There is no fear of being seen if one is not in the wrong. In a small community like ours, secrets are often hard to keep. The more important question is— how do we deal with these issues? Do we continue to talk about them in hushed tones behind closed doors? Or do we discuss them out in the open; face-to-face, or at least, with our names attached behind our opinions? Panopt believes in the latter.
We will not venture to make the claim that Panopt sees everything because there are limits that even we face. But we try our best, because everything that we see is translated into what the community sees, what you see. If our college funds are not being used in a sustainable or equitable manner, you deserve to know. If students are facing problems of cyber-bullying, you deserve to know. If our community is facing a crisis of identity, you deserve to know.
The difference between discussing an issue over meals or on Facebook, and in Panopt is that when an issue is brought up in Panopt, everybody knows. Everybody sees. We are a small community and every single person matters.
Knowledge matters because it is only with knowledge that change can come about. If we are unaware of tension brewing between two student organisations, we cannot do anything to resolve it. Panopt seeks to break the seeing/ being seen dichotomy and ensure that students, staff and faculty all have the knowledge to bring about change in our community.
In this second volume of Panopt, our desire to constantly improve and be better has not waned. If anything, we are even more determined to make this second volume bigger and better. Our goal is simple. We want our News and Sports sections to be more relevant and informative; our Features section to be more stimulating and eye-catching; and our Opinion section to be more thought provoking and challenging. Don’t get us wrong—our writers have been doing a fabulous job so far, but we would be a poor paper if there was no longer room for improvement.
We also want to clarify and emphasize the status of Panopt as a student newspaper. In a previous Editors’ Note, we stated that we are an autonomous student newspaper. That is true. We are not subject to any form of censorship or control from the college administration, and none of our articles is ever read by a member of the faculty or staff before going to print. That said, Panopt is registered as a student organisation under the jurisdiction of the Dean of Students Office.
What does this mean exactly? As with all other student organisations, Panopt has a Faculty Advisor—Vice-Rector Lage-Otero and a DF Advisor—Caroline, whose advice we greatly value. We also receive an annual budget from the DoS Office. However, these in no way constrain or limit the content of the paper as we are first and foremost, a newspaper dedicated to free speech and critical discourse.
Alright! These stuffy editors have said enough now. We’ll leave you to read the awesome content that our staff has painstakingly put together over their recess week and Week 7s. This issue is a double issue because we celebrate our one-year anniversary on Thursday. We hope you missed us over the two-week break; you won’t be rid of us anymore in the rest of the semester.
Joyan and Spandana